East Coast or Bust and Rochester CX #crossishere

My last week in Colorado was a memorable one and a tiring one! Jim had Russell and I pushing hard, Russell for worlds and me for Rochester. We motor paced Tuesday morning and did Meridian training race Tuesday night.

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Then Thursday and Friday I had vo2 intervals and an incline session Friday night, as a farewell to the mountains. 

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Needless to say I was wishing and hoping for a rest day. Though, as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for”. I think the next two days were a bit more than I was hoping for.

Two Saturdays past I embarked on a two day driving excursion, which took precious time off my I will never get back. Also, the two day drive resulted in sore sit bones and butt cheeks, which are just beginning to recover today…

The scenery could have been worse. I started at 5:30am chasing the sunrise and watching the big orange ball of fire rise into the hazy/humid Kansas horizon. This ended by 9am and from that point on it was corn fields and more corn fields. 

I stopped for a run somewhere just before the Missouri boarder. This was my first real encounter with humidity in over a year. I must say I took the dry, thin, air for granted when I was in Colorado. It was almost as if I didn’t need to worry about drinking because I could pull my hydration from breathing in the air. Like a human-fish?

I hit St. Louis around 9pm. I took a wrong turn and had to detour through a little portion of the city to get back on the HWY in the right direction. As I pulled up to a stop light, it was dark, a group of crotch rocket bikers came by in the opposite direction. Maybe they knew I was bored and looking for entertainment, but more likely they were bored and looking for entertainment/showing off to the local ladies, but one of them pulled a wheelie to 12 o’clock and sent sparks into the air lighting up the street. I simply smiled and kept driving for hours and hours…

My eyes started drooping around Terre Haute, Indiana. This took 18hrs in the car. I awoke Sunday morning with more highway ahead of me. I eventually arrived at my parents house by 7:30pm. I was whooped! Overall 30hrs in the car. I was exhausted but extremely happy to be home and I came out of that experience with a very concrete notion that I would rather be homeless then make my living driving truck… 

Monday morning I reacquainted myself with some of the roads I use to ride as a young lad, chasing the dream. I did a nice 50mi ride out to Amish country and back to the rolling hills of the French Creek Area. Satisfied, hot, and thoroughly dehydrated (humidity) I called it a day and decided the rest of the week I was going to ride before 12pm. 

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Thursday I made the journey North to Rochester, Ny. I drove through north-central Pa, which was very cool. It inspired me to plan on riding in Tioga, Pa on the way back through on Monday. 

I made good time and had no traffic. I checked in and got out on the Erie Canal for a quick spin before everyone else flew in and we all convened for dinner. 

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Friday we met at breakfast then headed over to the course around 12pm for bike fit adjustments and course preview laps. 

The course was like none I had never raced before. There was a 2.5min climb, a mandatory run section, and lots of fun loose turns. 

This was also my first time on Clement Tubulars and the MXP’s were hooking up great. Last year I was on Challenge. Unlike Challenge Clement Tubulars have an inner tube fused to the inside of the tire casing, which makes for a more supple conforming ride. Also, since the tread and sidewall casing are the same molded piece the tread doesn’t peel off as you put more time on them.

After a couple laps on course the gang packed up and headed back to the hotel to clean up, relax, then out to dinner. Team dinners are always a good time. Especially, with the crew we have. 9-10 strong this weekend with Erica Zeveta tagging along.

Saturday morning we had breakfast then hit the Erie Canal for a spin since we, the men, weren’t racing until 4pm. 

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I was really excited coming into the race and the anticipation of racing was getting annoying. I just wanted to the gun to go off.

The women set off and Caroline took the whole shot and lead the first two laps. Then fell back a few spots to finish in 5th. Laurel struggled a little bit possibly due to landing at 12am the night before. Rebecca Fahringer, the new Amy D Foundation rider, had a solid top 10 finish. 

Then it was our turn. Jamey was front row. I was first on the second and Lance, first year u23, was way in the back. 

I had a great start and found myself sitting 5th by the end of the 1st lap. Then midway through the second lap I broke my cassette and fell back to 25. Being so early in the race I knew I could rally, hoping the heat would drive people into riding the fade train. I put my head down and by the end of the race I ended up 10th. I was happy with that but also wondering how things would have gone if I hadn’t had a mechanical. 

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Jamey finished 6th and Lance was just outside of UCI points at 17th, which was impressive considering his start!

Day 1 Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1629588763980510.1073741832.1580183248921062&type=3

CX Magazine did a great job of coverage http://www.cxmagazine.com/video-watch-ellison-park-cyclocross-day-2-mens-race

If you missed the action check out http://gnarlymonkey.com for a replay and also stay updated on upcoming races! 

My mom came up so she bought me ice cream after the race and then came with the team to dinner. 

Same routine Sunday morning. Except everyones legs were a little heavier. 

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Caroline was 4th on the day, Rebecca faired better, and Laurel was top u23.

I had a front row start since J-Pow bowed out. I was gunning for the whole shot but fell short after a sloppy pedal entry.I kept my wits though and held a spot in the front group of 8 through the first third of the race.

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Then I started getting yo-yo’d off the back and decided to ride my own pace for a while. The accelerations in the heat were getting to me so I needed some steady effort. I stayed at 7th for the middle of the race then came on the last three laps to make up 3 spots and finish at 4th with Drew Dillman just a few seconds up but I couldn’t make it happen. 

This picture says a thousand words…

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All Photos: Wil Matthews – http://www.wilmatthewsphoto.com/

Day two Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1629915130614540.1073741833.1580183248921062&type=3

Jamey was right there at 8th and Lance had another solid ride for being a back row tail gunner!

My mom was back to Pa Sunday night and the team was set on Dinosaur BBQ (we had Italian the last three nights)! BBQ Brisket, slaw, and BBQ Beans! I was a happy camper and exhausted. We all were.

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I felt bad for Lance, Caro, and Laurel. They were off at 5am. I was casually rolling out of bed and driving back.

I had some breakfast then drove 2hrs south to Tioga, Pa and set out on a ride. There were a ton of cool roads in that area. Lots of dirt roads so I was happy to have my Strada LGG 25’s on. No worries except catching cars, or hay wagons, on loose descents. My legs were more then heavy and 2.5 hrs felt more like 4. 

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Dusty and tired but the gravel roads were just what the doctor ordered!

https://www.strava.com/activities/387293861

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I made it home by 5 and my dad and I had a Labor day cook out/picnic! Not a bad weekend by any means. And that first CX race is in the books! 

I am racing Saturday at Nittany Lion CX this coming weekend and then its off to Vegas on Tuesday for my first CX world cup! 

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